Senators blame Saudi prince for Khashoggi's death

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Two key Republican senators said Tuesday a briefing by Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel had only strengthened their conviction Prince Mohammed was behind the crime - a charge he denies.

The U.N. human rights chief says an worldwide investigation is needed into the "awful" killing of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The United Nations human rights chief on Wednesday called for an global investigation.

Graham wants to designate Mohammed bin Salman as complicit in the journalist's murder, stop arms sales to the country and now even opposes the Saudi war on Yemen.

"The global community seems to doubt Saudi Arabia's commitment to prosecute this heinous crime".

At the same time, Turkey outraged by the killing on its soil claimed to have an audio tape of the killing and CCTV footages that in reality, Khashoggi was brutally murdered and the Kingdom preplanned it, which contradicted the Saudi account of an accidental killing.

Both Republicans and Democrats urged President Donald Trump himself to strongly condemn the killing after he stood by the crown prince. However, for two weeks Saudi Arabia tried to press that Jamal Khashoggi left the consulate after 20 minutes of entering but under intense global outcry and pressure from allies, Saudi Arabia finally claimed that the journalist was killed in a fist-fight after officials asked him to return to his home country to get all the necessary papers.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was shunned by some leaders at the G20 summit
RICARDO MAZALAN APSaudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was shunned by some leaders at the G20 summit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the order to kill Khashoggi came from the highest levels of the Saudi government, but has insisted it was not King Salman. Rand Paul, who was not invited to the meeting, joined Graham and Corker in criticizing the administration.

Trump and some of his fellow Republicans have argued that Washington should not take action that would risk its relationship with Riyadh, which is viewed as an important counterweight to Iran in the Middle East.

"There is not a smoking gun - there is a smoking saw", Graham shot back on Tuesday, referring to a bone saw that Saudi operatives allegedly used to dismember Khashoggi's body.

The United States last month imposed economic sanctions on 17 Saudi officials for their role in the killing.

Under mounting pressure from lawmakers who wanted action against Riyadh, Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told senators there was no direct evidence linking the crown prince to the murder.

While Saudi Arabia has admitted that the murder was "premeditated", it has vehemently denied that the royal family had any knowledge or involvement.

Asiri, however, was not on the list of 17 people sanctioned by Washington.

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